Beat downs (to harass or crush one’s spirit) come in many forms. I’ve suffered more than I can count in my life and I have some advice I’d like to offer about how to recover from one that seems insurmountable. Nope, I’m not talking about our recent foray into the world of buying a car from a dealership, which in itself was a beat down of epic proportions. Lawsy.
I’m talking a beat down of a more personal kind: one from a beloved friend or a family member. The beat downs we receive by the hands of those we love are especially brutal and can leave us bruised and muted, wishing to wash things clean.
But, baby, you gotta get up. You gotta let go. You gotta let God do his thang.
#10: Take a hot minute to grieve what you need to grieve in the time following the beat down. Whether it’s a relationship lost, stalled or merely paused. Live the pain. It’s real and it’s valid.
#9: Examine your part, if any, in the beat down. Be honest with yourself and own your end of the melee, if there is any to own.
#8: Apologize. If you found yourself culpable in #9, get to grovelling. Beg forgiveness. Ask to start over. Be sincere. Do not place blame. Do not point fingers at anyone but yourself.
#7: If in #9 you find that you have been on the end of the beat down stick by no fault of your own, do not contribute to the pain by continuing the argument. Back off. Put space between you and the offender.
#6: Space = no communication except in person or by phone, and only if you feel progress towards reconciliation will occur. No texting. No emails. No facebook (obviously it may be too difficult and add fuel to the flame if you defriend, but you can certainly hide the offender). No tweeting. Space is good.
#5: Pray. My faith sustains me, yet I understand that not all share my belief. Find something that you can believe in. Find something that will sustain you. God has offered me life, comfort and forgiveness when I have failed to understand or comprehend that my very existence is painful to others.
#4: Examine the relationship. Do the beat downs occur regularly? Was this an anomaly? Were there extenuating circumstances? Can you bring forgiveness or understanding to the table? Do you dread encounters with this person/s? Is there common ground? Is the relationship one that is healthy to continue? Is there an option of a sidelines relationship (you show up at required family affairs, stay along the figurative perimeter, don’t poke the bear kinda existence)?
#3: Define the relationship based on #4 and go from there. No need to announce your findings or conclusions to anyone; this is for your well-being only.
#2: Wish all you want that things were different, but accept the reality of what is. Other than #1, this may be the hardest step.
#1: Forgive. To forgive is not to forget. Many a heinous act has been forgiven (I think of those who survived Auschwitz), but couldn’t be forgotten if we tried. My well-being has been preserved over the years, my joy intact, because I have forgiven, not only others but myself as well. The act of forgiveness doesn’t come easily; it is hard-won. Yet, get there if you can. It will not only open the door to a possible reconciliation, but will also allow you some peace in the situation.
Each time I’ve suffered a beat down, I’ve tried to remember that it is more about them than it is about me (unless I contributed…then I apologized as soon as possible). Doesn’t make it any easier to be on the receiving end, but it helps speed my recovery.
Many of us will experience this at some point in our lives and it can be a devastating event, but as in all things, remember that you have a choice in how to deal with a beat down.
After you’ve had a good cry, put bandages on your open wounds and wondered what the hell was so wrong with you, it’s time to get up, baby. It’s time to let go. It’s time to let God do his thang.
Go recover. For you.